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Survivor Recap: The Facts of Survivor 



Good job, Blair! You have officially broken Survivor.

By Kerri Fleming

It's hard to tell who enjoyed this week's Tribal Council the most: Jonathan Penner, Jeff Probst, or me. All of us were bouncing in our seats with delight at the implosion in front of us, and yet none of us knew what the heck was going on. Was Jeff going home? Mike? Lisa? Boston Rob? Gordon Ramsay? How did Pete's name suddenly appear? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON.

Let's start at the top. Jonathan returns from last week's Tribal Council rightfully concerned. After all, he is now without an alliance and is very obviously the next person to be voted out. He confronts Jeff and Carter and Denise about their turning on him, but he's also not really a jerk, so what are you going to do? You know your up the creek when Mike Skupin is giving you pep talks. Chin up, Penner. At least you haven't been medivaced out yet!

The next morning, Lisa is talking strategy. Wait, what? Miss I'm-a-loner-and-want-to-be-by-myself? Miss You're-nice-to-me-so-we-have-a-bond? Miss Church Lady? Welcome to the game! Her goal is to first get rid of outliers Jonathan and Mike, and then set the sights on Artis, Pete and Abi, aka the Least Popular People in the Game, aka the Evil Empire. Jeff, who seems to have a bond with Lisa, agrees with the idea.

But before that, we have a reward challenge, where the contestants get split into two teams of five, have to retrieve underwater traps with puzzle pieces, dig up a hidden key and solve a flag puzzle, all in the name of some Southern BBQ goodness. Abi, Lisa, and Mike all prove their inadequacies in challenges, but the real difference was made with Jonathan on the puzzle portion. Say what you will about the man and his silly hat and Freddy Kruger pants; he knows his puzzles. And he earns himself, Jeff, Malcolm, Denise and Lisa a lot of yummy food and - bonus! - a day away from Artis, Abi and Pete.

Artis tries to put a positive spin on things (firsts all around this episode!), while Abi tries to bond with Carter by telling him all about her various alliances. Pete tries to correct her like the mischievous and possibly possessed puppy that she is, and then tells her his plan of voting out Jonathan, then Jeff, Denise, Malcolm and Mike, keeping the pretty harmless Skupin around for entertainment purposes, I'm guessing. Abi pouts, because that's what she does, and Pete admits that the original allure of aligning with Abi has rubbed off (RC can relate). Still, he recognizes her horrible personality for what it is - a perfect reason to bring her unpopular butt with him to the final three.

Back at camp, Lisa again works on her new hobby of playing the game of Survivor. Recognizing what everyone else in the world has known for years, she wants to align herself (and Mike) with the most unpopular people, i.e. Artis, Pete and Abi. She starts by telling Mike that Malcolm has a hidden idol before they have to head to the immunity challenge.

Is there anything better than going into an immunity challenge where one person is so obviously going home unless he or she wins...AND THEN HE OR SHE ACTUALLY WINS? It's my favorite, even if I don't like the person. And as I actually do kind of like Jonathan, it was a good time all around. The challenge involved collecting puzzle pieces while going through an obstacle course. The first three to finish that leg would move on to the second leg, which involved actually solving the puzzle. Pete and Jeff finish the first part easily, but Jonathan just beats Mike for the last spot by unnecessarily dive/somersaulting across the finish line.

Always with a flair for the dramatics, Jonathan then falls behind almost instantly in the puzzle and looks pretty much out of it. But then, suddenly, he's in it. Pete gets flummoxed, and Jonathan does the puzzle equivalent of dive/somersaulting past Jeff to win immunity. NOW WHAT, EVERYONE?!

Well, up first on everyone's to-do list is congratulate Jonathan with a pained, constipated look on their face. After that, it's all about scrambling. First, it looks like Mike's going home, the logical next step for the anti-former-Survivor contingent. Hoping to save Mike, Lisa tries to bond with Pete by telling him about Malcolm's idol. Disappointed by losing his bond with dreamboat Malcolm, and horrified at the idea of finding himself in an alliance with fuddy-duddies like Mike and Lisa, Pete confronts Malcolm and even tells him that he got his info from Lisa.

(Side note: Pete is sneakily one of the most manipulative Survivors ever. He turned Abi and RC against each other; he somehow took control of an idol whose clue belonged to RC and which physically belonged to Abi; he played that fun game of digging up the clue and hiding it in RC's stuff so she looks bad; and now he's turning Lisa and Malcolm against each other. He's like Russell Hantz, if Russell Hantz had any sort of social game at all.)

Somehow, Malcolm's horrified puppy eyes convince Pete that he doesn't actually have an idol (so maybe Pete's not the mastermind we all thought), and so Pete suggests that they team up and vote out Jeff. I guess because Jeff is a threat? This is where I lose all sense of logic, and by "I" I mean "they."

Pete then returns to Lisa and tells her some tall tale about Malcolm confronting him about knowing about the idol and him coming clean and HOW IS PETE COMING OUT SMELLING LIKE A ROSE RIGHT NOW? Still, Pete convinces Lisa that voting Jeff out is the new plan, until Jeff suddenly appears in the group. Oh crap, now what? you can see in everyone's face. Worried, Jeff starts throwing Pete's name around as someone to vote out.

It's time to go to Tribal Council, and thank goodness because if we were on the beach any longer, I'm pretty sure every single person would spend a few minutes as "the person who is going to get voted out," including me and you. Before we get to the drama of Tribal Council, let's just take a moment to recognize Jonathan's fabulous reaction to a clean and dressed-up RC showing up as the first member of the jury. He looked like a starving man eyeing a $300 steak. I'll have one of those, please.

Then the real fun began. Malcolm wastes no time calling Lisa out for telling everyone about his idol. Lisa, who, to give her the benefit of the doubt, just started playing Survivor about 12 hours ago, doesn't know what to do and so does the worst thing - tell the truth. This sets off Abi, who is mad for some good reason like it's Wednesday or something. Then Malcolm shuts everyone up by coming clean and showing that he does, indeed, have an idol. Which prompts Abi to show her hidden idol, too. Which prompts Jonathan, from his delightful non-aligned and fully immunitied perch, to grin, "This is awesome." Indeed it is.

Jonathan then proposes an alliance with Jeff, Carter, Denise, Malcolm, and Mike, much to Lisa's chagrin, but at this point, I don't think anyone knows what's going on. And after all that, neither Malcolm nor Abi play their idols. Eventually, the votes come back 5-4 in favor of voting out Jeff.

At this point, Jeff, whose tribemates STILL don't know is a pretty famous former baseball player, has not shown any of the prickly, controversial and confrontational personality he was so known for in his playing days. But in case you were doubting his jerkiness, I present you with his parting words:

"You know what pisses me off is I think I've made about $60 million playing baseball and I want this frickin' million dollars in this game. And it's not even a million bucks; it's 600 grand by the time Obama takes it. I'm a Game 7 World Series loser. I've played in the biggest games in the world and the worst games in the world, but this just sucks."

Stay classy, Kent.

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